change your life

What happens now?

I’ve always had a thing for Jodie Foster. Well, since puberty hit, I guess.

I went through a phase where I watched virtually every movie I could find, one of favorites being the original Freaky Friday. I didn’t know it then, but I was especially captivated by her androgynous teenage character. I almost "knew* she was gay even before she came out decades later. I could totally relate to her, even when she didn’t even know herself, or share herself, in that way yet.

In the movie CONTACT, Ms. Foster’s character, Ellie, travels to outer space and on the edge of a major part of the journey into the Great Unknown, she says breathlessly, “what happens now?!”

Matthew McConaughey’s character says the exact same phrase in INTERSTELLAR, another one of my favorite outer space/sci-fi films. Fun fact! Mr. McConaughey also played a major role opposite Jodie Foster in CONTACT. ;)

I’ve been especially drawn to this phrase “what happens now?!” as I’ve intentionally veered off the straight-and-narrow (pun!) path in every aspect of my life, for most of my life. I just recently put together a presentation about living in 25 different homes in 19 years. And that’s just the past 19! I’ve had more than that in my 40 years on this planet.

As I put together that presentation, I realized the guts and glory it took along the way to pull that shit off. I sat at my computer, watching the pictures scroll by and realized the epic courage it took to do what I’ve done. And the more details you know about my story, the more it may dazzle you.

I don’t come from old or new money. I was raised by a single mother who never attended college. I went to school on full scholarships. I left my career due to homophobia in my early 20s. I’ve weaved in and among many different careers including building my own business as a coach and writer and speaker for the past 10 years. I came out as queer in my early 20s and then again as trans in my mid-30s. I put myself through the grad school at the same time I began my transition. I left the long-term relationship I’d been in when I realized it had served it’s true purpose for me and then moved around to find and figure out what Home meant to me ever since.

And along the way, through all those meanderings, I’ve often asked myself when the going got tough, “what happens now?!”

And the answer I’ve learned to hear and trust is: whatever you want.

What happens in our lives is completely dependent on us and our choices and our decisions from moment to moment. It may be why so many people play it “safe” and stay with what’s familiar. There’s a false sense of security when you live your life like that. But you also stay the same, perhaps to a fault that doesn’t serve you to your highest potential.

“What happens now” feels like it’s out of our control, which it often is, but we do have plenty of agency in what happens next. External factors may influence our means and methods but if we let ourselves fall victim to that, we’re in dire straights. When we empower ourselves to act with whatever we have in the moment, we find our way, sometimes one fingerhold at a time. And if you’ve ever tried to plan something, like a wedding for example, you realize how imperfectly Best Laid Plans may actualize.

I think that’s why I loved the movies I mentioned earlier so much, besides my major crush on Jodie of course, because they show just what happens when we choose our own adventure and let go of what happens next. It’s a dance between choosing to act, choosing to see, choosing to try and releasing our grasp on how it will unfold.

Both characters intentionally choose to go into Deep Space with no idea what will happen to them and no idea who they will become or if they will even continue to exist.

I’ve done that so many times in so many ways, my transition being one of many decisions I’ve made, my moving around the Northeast of America being another, and what I’ve learned from the process is how scary and thrilling and wonderful it is to leave the familiar and learn who you become as a result.

The risk and reward of being f---ing brave.

Every time I want to write or type a curse in my blog post, I chicken out. There's a voice inside me that says, don't do it.

It feels like a metaphor for my life. And maybe yours, too. 

Do you hear that same voice? The one that says, "don't do it." For whatever reason.

Because it goes against the grain in some way.

Because it would cost you something.

Because it requires you being vulnerable.

Because it means you could "fail".

Because it means changing something about yourself.

Because there's no guarantee it would work.

Because of what happened last time you tried something.

 

Yep. All those thoughts clamor around when we are poised on the edge of some kind of decision or action: personally or professionally. And the longer we sit there, the more agonizing it can be. We are faced with the decision to act in the face of uncertainty. We get to choose whether we will stay put, in the hamster wheel we've been in, or we will summon the courage to CHOOSE CHANGE.

We don't know how or if it will work. We don't get a safety net. We might possibly fall flat on our faces. We might get rejected. We might be ignored. We might see in stunning brilliance our many faults and character flaws.

Or none of those might happen. Or maybe some do.

Or we get hand-picked, exactly as we are, just because. We receive all green lights and a big bold YES. We ask and receive. We put it out there and the results are magnificent. We get thanked and chosen and celebrated.

And that's the risk and reward of being fucking brave. 

 

Each day we wake up, our odds are 50/50. It can go either way. The coin is in our hands and we can flip it or not.

I recently texted the title of this blog post to someone I know. It was a sentence I came up with on the spot as I sent her a few encouraging words. She was on the brink of something big and she was facing some self-doubt. It was easy for me to see how successful she would be, she's an exceptionally smart and tenacious person. Her courage is above-average. Her charisma is incredibly charming. And she still confessed deep hesitation and concern about the outcome.

And I could relate. I feel it every day. My personal and professional worlds have evolved and improved from a series of failures and successes, each one possible because of the risks I took each day. Quitting jobs that didn't feel right. Withdrawing from relationships when they weren't feeling good. Changing my gender identity three years into my business. Sometimes the risks led to failures that stacked up to the point of rendering me paralyzed. Too many in a row left me feeling discouraged. And then I would get a win. A solid, undeniable success. And I got back in the game.

Some things will work, some will not. We can never know the outcome of something before we try. We can only know the freedom we feel from trying and letting go of our attachment to how things pan out. 

And that's the risk and reward of being fucking brave. 

 

 

Standing Too Long in One Place?

Don't be like these guys:

Mushrooms tout tremendous health benefits (folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, niacin and selenium, to name a bunch) so they are obviously good things to eat.

Emulating them? Not so much.

Mushrooms need to stay put in order to grow all their delicious nutrients but you? You need to MOVE to GROW!

I recently spent a lot of time and energy trying to get my feet unrooted and moving forward in an area of my life. After giving it lots of thought and doing my best to walk my talk as a good health coach, I made a great move and was handsomely rewarded with tons of support from the Universe. The very next day on my run, I saw these mushrooms and thought, "wow. That was me, dude. I was stuck too long in one place."

Are you feeling stagnant?

Frustrated? Depressed? Anxious?

You might be standing or staying too long in one place.

Check your life. Do a quick scan:

1) how's your job? do you REALLY like it or are you just showing up every day for the paycheck? Paycheck not meeting your needs? AND you don't have enough time for yourself?! Hmm...why are you at that job, again?

2) how about your love life? Do you wake up each morning and retire each night feeling safe, nurtured, valued and respected? Are you able to express your needs and have them heard and met? Are you able to give and receive safe physical intimacy?

3) what are you doing for exercise? Are you moving according to the needs of your body? are you pushing yourself too hard or not hard enough? Do you have the energy you need to get fit? What are your personal physical goals?

Take a good look at your life. Are you standing too long in one place? What do you need to get moving?

How can I support you in doing that?